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MediaTek Devops New Chip For 4K TVs

January 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

MediaTek has been showing off its MT5598 chipset for HDR-enabled 4K TVs.

The MT5598 is a high-spec UltraHD SmartTV platform. It supports lots of different entry-to-enthusiast HDR technologies, and allows 4K TV manufacturers the flexibility to pair it with a range of LCD panels, backlight combinations, licensed or free technologies and localized content standards. These standards cover UltraHD Blu-ray and streaming services from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, VuDu, VQQ, Voole, iQIY and YouKu.

Media Tek claims that its MT5598 brings MediaTek AI enhancements that enable voice control, plus audience, environmental and content awareness to SmartTV’s. These can collectively enhance the user experience by providing a tailored, real-time reaction in picture quality, channel selection and more based on who, how and what is being watched.

MediaTek General Manager of Home Display and Custom IC Business Unit Evan Su said that for 20 years, MediaTek has been a market leader in developing innovative chipsets for home entertainment products and devices.

“Our newest SmartTV chipset will bring the most advanced online streaming standards and superior picture quality into homes around the world.”

In addition to HDR-enabled content, MT5598 has its own HDR dynamic range remapping engine. It provides HDR post-processing enhancement to SDR content on HDR-capable displays, re-imbuing color, saturation and the dynamic range of brightness that is lost in SDR content. Combined with its 13th generation Picture Quality Engine, the MediaTek Super Resolution System (SRS) selectively enhances fine details without artifacting, sharpens edges and provides 4K Motion Estimation and Motion Compensation (MEMC).

Courtesy-Fud

AI Bests Humans In Reading Comprehension Test

January 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

AI created by Chinese tech giant Alibaba and Microsoft have tied for first place on the Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD) this month, outperforming the human score for Exact Match (providing exact answers to questions). Alibaba and Microsoft announced the news separately on Monday.

According to the SQuAD website, it is a machine reading comprehension dataset comprising of questions pertaining to a set of Wikipedia articles. Answers to questions are usually a segment of text from a corresponding reading passage.

The leaderboard on SQuAD’s website shows Alibaba’s and Microsoft’s EM scores to be 82.44 and 82.65 respectively, which put both at first place. The scores are higher than a human’s, which is 82.304.

The results may not be surprising to some since AI-based systems have proven to be formidable, with Google’s AlphaGo defeating Ke Jie as the Go world champion last year. The systems are also expected to go into hospitals and act as our assistants, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma predicted AI-powered robots will head companies in 30 years.

But not everyone will agree on how intelligent AI-based systems really are yet. Just a little more than three months ago, Chinese researchers published a study saying AI-based systems are no smarter than a six year-old. A Chinese robot called AI-MATHS which did a version of a Maths paper at China’s college entrance exams was unable to beat the national average last year. The robot’s developers explained it was unable to comprehend certain words, causing marks to be lost.

Luo Si, Chief Scientist of Natural Language Processing (NLP) at Alibaba iDST commented:

“It is our great honor to witness the milestone where machines surpass humans in reading comprehension. That means objective questions such as ‘what causes rain’ can now be answered with high accuracy by machines. We are especially excited because we believe the technology underneath can be gradually applied to numerous applications such as customer service, museum tutorials and online responses to medical inquiries from patients, decreasing the need for human input in an unprecedented way.”

“We are thrilled to see NLP research has achieved significant progress over the year. We look forward to sharing our model-building methodology with the wider community and exporting the technology to our clients in the near future,” Si added.

Bitcoin Continues Slide Over Banning Fears

January 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin fell 18 percent on Tuesday to a four-week trough close to $11,000, after reports that a ban on trading of cryptocurrencies in South Korea was still an option drove fears grew of a wider regulatory crackdown.

Bitcoin’s slide triggered a massive selloff across the broader cryptocurrency market, with biggest rival Ethereum down 23 percent on the day, according to trade website Coinmarketcap, and the next-biggest, Ripple, plunging 33 percent.

South Korean news website Yonhap reported that Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon had told a local radio station that the government would be coming up with a set of measures to clamp down on the “irrational” cryptocurrency investment craze.

South Korea had said on Monday that its plans to ban virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized, as government agencies were still in talks to decide how to regulate the market.

 Bitcoin slid on the latest news, trading as low as $11,191.59 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, down 18 percent on the day, for a short period putting the digital currency on track for its biggest one-day fall in three years.

“It’s mainly been regulatory issues which are haunting the cryptocurrency, with news around South Korea’s further crackdown on trading the driver today,” said Think Markets chief strategist Naeem Aslam, who holds what he described as “substantial” amounts of bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.

“But we maintain our stance. We do not think that the complete banning of cryptocurrencies is possible,” he said.

Cryptocurrencies enjoyed a bumper year in 2017 as mainstream investors entered the market and as an explosion in so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) – digital token-based fundraising rounds – drove demand for bitcoin and Ethereum, the second-biggest digital unit.

The latest tumble leaves bitcoin down more than 40 percent from the record high around $20,000 it hit in mid-December, wiping about $130 billion off its “market cap” – the unit price multiplied by the total number of bitcoins that have been released into the market.

The news from South Korea came as it emerged a senior Chinese central banker had said authorities should ban centralised trading of virtual currencies as well as individuals and businesses that provide related services, according to an internal memo from a government meeting seen by Reuters.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Chinese authorities plan to block domestic access to Chinese and offshore cryptocurrency platforms that allow centralised trading.

 “(It) seems like it’s uncertainty spooking the markets,…with regulations unclear,” said Charles Hayter, founder of data analysis website Cryptocompare. “(Traders) are taking profits on the increased risk scenarios going forward.”

A director at Germany’s central bank said on Monday that any attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies must be on a global scale as national or regional rules would be hard to enforce on a virtual, borderless community.

Big Blue Still The Patent King

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

While the media attention has shifted away from Biggish Blue in the hardware world, there are signs that the company is still quietly getting on with it and inventing things.

IBM inventors received a record 9,043 patents in 2017, marking the company’s 25th consecutive year of U.S. patent leadership and crossing the 100,000-patent milestone. IBM is still the outfit which churns out that most patents. 2017 marks the 25th consecutive year that IBM has been named the leader in granted U.S. patents, with a record 9,043 patents

The new patents were granted to a diverse group of more than 8,500 IBM researchers, engineers, scientists and designers in 47 different U.S. states and 47 countries.

For example there was Maja Vukovic’s patent for a system that detects and counteracts cyber attacks.

Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO said that for the past 25 years, IBM’s patent leadership has changed the way the world works with advancements critical to the modern era of computing.

“Today, nearly half of our patents are pioneering advancements in AI, cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain and quantum computing – and all are aimed at helping our clients create smarter businesses.”

IBM inventors received in 2017 more than 1,900 cloud patents, including a patent for a system that uses unstructured data about world or local events to forecast cloud resource needs. The system can monitor data sources – including news feeds, network statistics, weather reports and social networks – to identify where and how cloud resources should be allocated to meet demand.

Another set of innovations helps solve one of artificial intelligence’s current limits: lack of personalization, which can hinder how AI communicates with people. Among the industry-leading 1,400 AI patents IBM inventors were granted in 2017 is a patent for a system that can help AI analyze and mirror a user’s speech patterns to improve communication between AI and humans.

IBM inventors also received 1,200 cybersecurity patents, including one for technology that enables AI systems to turn the table on hackers by baiting them into email exchanges and websites that expend their resources and frustrate their attacks. It could substantially reduce the security risks associated with “phishing” emails and other attacks.

IBM inventors also patented significant inventions in emerging areas like quantum computing, including a new way for improving a quantum computer’s ability to acquire and retain information – otherwise known as signal readout fidelity. This can lead to efficiency in the components necessary to build a quantum computing system.

Other patented innovations from IBM inventors in 2017 include:
• A machine learning system designed to shift control between an autonomous vehicle and a human driver as needed, such as in an emergency.
• A method that uses blockchain technology to reduce the number of steps involved in settling transactions between multiple business parties, even those that are not trusted and might otherwise require a third-party clearinghouse to execute.
• A technique that automatically elevates the security protection of a mobile device when it determines that device is located far from its owner and is likely under someone else’s control.

Courtesy-Fud

AMD Going 7nm With Vega

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Lisa Su has announced Vega 7nm as a machine learning “instinct part” first. AMD is quite clear that this is for machine learning first and don’t want to comment on our curiosity whether Vega 7nm can make it to the market as a gaming product soon.

Radeon Instinct Vega 7nm sounds like a shrink down of Vega architecture, a much safer approach than the new architecture Navi in 7nm. It is simply safer to shrink the existing architecture, such as Vega from 14nm to 7nm, than to jump to a new manufacturing process and a new architecture.

AMD calls this new product the Radeon Instinct Vega 7nm and this is a direct successor to the Radeon Instinct MI25. Of course, this card addresses machine learning, a market that is currently dominated by Nvidia Volta parts, but, at the same time, AMD is not charging an arm and leg for its products either.

Nvidia’s Volta is a 12nm part, while Vega at 7nm is likely to bring higher clocks, better performance and some optimizations on the architecture side.

7nm in 2018 won’t be easy

AMD states that 7nm Radeon Vega Architecture has been built for machine learning, which might imply that there will be some significant architecture optimizations for machine learning.

Lisa Su said that AMD has a production level machine learning software stack. It is questionable how much impact AMD made with its Instinct products as the industry massively follows the  Nvidia Cuda based solution, but we will be following the latest developments.

Late 2018 would be when we would expect any kind of 7nm, but we won’t go into details about this right now.

Courtesy-Fud

Kenmore’s New Washer,Dryer Allows Monitoring From Smartphone

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

The 5-cubic-foot washer is said to be able to wash a “full-size” load of laundry in just 29 minutes. It also offers a Rugged cycle designed to handle bulky items like blankets with steam and a longer cleaning time. Its Direct Drive Motor is supposed to have six different wash movements, which change based on the specific cycle you choose. And, Kenmore says its cold water setting cleans your laundry just as well as warm water.

The 7.3-cubic-foot dryer has an “EasyLoad” door that can open either from the top or the side — whatever’s easiest for you.

But the big news is the new smart capabilities these models have via the related Kenmore Smart app. Up until this point, Kenmore’s laundry appliances have had very limited smart functionality.

The Kenmore Elite Smart top-load washer and Front Control dryer cost $1,000 each and are available now (roughly £740 and AU$1,270 converted).

What to expect from the smart home at CES 2018: We take a look at the smart home and appliance trends we expect to see this year.

Is The iPhone X The Best Smartphone

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Realizing that few people were buying the iPhone X despite being told it was wonderful, the Tame Apple Press decided to carry out an investigation to discover why. 

A CNET reporter visited four carrier stores to ask their salesmen if they’d recommend an iPhone X. But after visiting stores for Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, “I couldn’t even find a salesperson to tell me it was the best iPhone I could buy,” he whined.

Realizing that no sane customer loving sales person would recommend an Apple product he thought he would go to an Apple store instead. There, at least a Genius recommending the most expensive product on the list could reassure him.

Unfortunately not even in Apple land could he find anyone dumb or brainwashed enough to recommend the iPhone X.

“Well, it depends on what you like… The biggest problem I have with it is using Face ID for Apple Pay. You really have to put the phone at a certain angle or it doesn’t work.”

The reporter was outraged at the genius’s sales pitch. “He started with a problem. I was already suspicious. I was in something of a hurry, but I asked him: “So are you selling a lot more of these than other phones?”

The sales genius suddenly sounded like a politician, moaned the hack. “All our phones sell well,” he said. Which sounded not entirely reassuring. Indeed, it sounded like a “no.”

Another Apple store “Genius” (who was testing his iPhone 6), CNET’s reporter was told that “The X and the 8 are the same phone… Inside, I mean. With the X, you’re just paying the extra money for the design.”

The hack noted that the salesman’s $999 iPhone X was wrapped in an ugly pink case, because after four weeks he’d already cracked it. And a third Apple salesman — who touted the glories of an OLED screen — also kept his iPhone X in a case at all times “It’s glass,” he explained. “You’ll definitely need a case.”

This means that you can’t see the lovely phone and show it to your friends, so they can see how beautiful it is, moaned the hack.

“Get a see-through case,” the Apple staff member advised.

Sales of the iPhone X are proving disappointing and it looks like Apple’s get punters to pay more for less strategy is finally not working.

Courtesy-Fud

Amazon Alexa Arrives On Windows 10 PCs

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The expanding rivalry between Amazon and Google in the battle for virtual assistant dominance intensified at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.

While both have a strong claim as front-runners – with Amazon arguably leading the charge at this stage – it’s clear that Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are lagging. Case in point: Several major PC makers launched Windows 10 hardware and trumpeted Alexa support as a major selling point. (Cortana will, of course, also be available since it’s built into Windows 10, but it is the arrival of Alexa that was a key selling pitch.

The Windows 10 devices launched this week with Alexa built include HP’s small form-factor Pavilion Wave PC; Acer’s Aspire; Spin, Switch and Swift notebooks; Asus’ 2018 ZenBook and VivoBook laptops; and Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Carbon and Yoga devices.

With these laptop and PC launches, Alexa is finding its way into a wider array of devices as virtual assistants gain a foothold in the office.

Alexa has benefited from the slow burning success of Amazon’s Echo smart home speakers, but that was only the start. At last year’s CES, Alexa was showcased in a range of products, from fridges to robotic vacuum cleaners, part of Amazon’s plans to position Alexa as an all-pervasive virtual assistant.

Though Toyota and Lexus plan to install the voice-activated assistant in select vehicles, the launch of PCs with Alexa highlights its move from the consumer world to the enterprise – much as the iPhone in 2007 moved quickly from individual users to become a mainstay of the workforce. (The Alexa for Business launch last year – an arena that would seemingly be a natural home for Microsoft – only underscores Amazon’s plans.)

With 25,000 Alexa skills already available, including a growing list targeted specifically at business users, Amazon is already forging deals with corporate partners. A range of companies, including Salesforce, SAP SuccessFactors, Concur, Ring Central and ServiceNow all plan to integrate their applications with Alexa for Business.

“As we begin 2018, Alexa shows the strongest partner ecosystem – with the most hardware partners and the most skills – and an increasing presence in the office with Alexa for Business,” said Forrester vice president and principal analyst J.P. Gownder.

Business support for Alexa – both at work and in customer-facing spots like hotels – represents a huge opportunity for Amazon, said Gownder. And it has the momentum that other virtual assistants lack currently.

“Cortana hasn’t made enough headway to stave off an aggressive, growing Alexa in business contexts at this point,” he said.

Intel Cloud Customers Ready To Flee Over Security Concerns

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Some of Intel Corp’s data center customers, whose thousands of computers run cloud networks, are looking for other microchips from the market leader’s rivals to build new infrastructure after the discovery of security flaws affecting most chips.

Whether Intel sees a slew of defectors or is forced to offer discounts, the company could take a hit to one of its fastest growing business units. Intel chips back 98 percent of data center operations, according to industry consultancy IDC.

Security researchers last week disclosed flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, that could allow hackers to steal passwords or encryption keys on most types of computers, phones and cloud-based servers.

Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday the patches necessary to secure the threats could have a significant performance impact on servers.

Intel will help customers find the best approach in terms of security, performance and compatibility, it said in a statement on Tuesday. “For many customers, the performance element is foremost, and we are sharply focused on doing all we can to ensure that we meet their expectations.”

Alternatives include Advanced Micro Devices, which shares with Intel a chip architecture called x86, or chips based on technology from ARM Holdings or graphics processing chips, which were developed for different tasks than Intel and AMD’s central processing units, or CPUs.

 For Gleb Budman’s company, San Mateo-based online storage firm Backblaze, building with ARM chips would not be difficult.

“If ARM provides enough computing power at lower cost or lower power than x86, it would be a strong incentive for us to switch,” said Budman. “If the fix for x86 results in a dramatically decreased level of performance, that might increasingly push in favor of switching to ARM.”

Infinitely Virtual, a Los Angeles-based cloud computing vendor, is counting on Intel to replace equipment or offer a rebate to make up for the loss in computing power, Chief Executive Adam Stern said in an interview.

 

Will AMD Launch The Ryzen 2000 This Quarter

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

According to a report coming from Japan, AMD’s Ryzen 2000-series (Ryzen 2) processors, may launch in March, alongside its new motherboard chipsets, the X470 and the B450.

According to Hermitage Akihabara, retailers in Japan are gearing up for the Ryzen 2 launch in March this year, which should bring decent performance improvements thanks to an optical shrink.

According to an earlier roadmap leak, Pinnacle Ridge can be considered as the “tick” in AMD’s CPU lineup as it will be based on the same Summit Ridge architecture or Zen+ cores, which should bring slight IPC improvement, mostly thanks to the 12nm LP manufacturing process.

It is most likely that AMD will be able to squeeze higher clocks and better power efficiency, and some rumors also suggested higher memory frequency support.

As noted, the new Ryzen 2000 series chips will be paired up with the new 400 series chipset, including the X470 and B450-based motherboards. While these will be based on the same AM4 socket, it is still not clear if the 300-series chipset motherboards will be supporting the new Ryzen 2000 series CPUs.

Hopefully, more information will surface as soon as CES 2018 show kicks off next week.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Looks To Expand Digital Whiteboard

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung debuted its take on the collaborative digital whiteboard at CES, launching its Flip display.

Digital whiteboards are getting a lot of attention from a number of large vendors, including Google, Microsoft and Cisco. All aim to replace traditional flip charts and whiteboards with touchscreen-enabled hardware designed to ease collaboration during meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Up to four different participants can interact with a Flip whiteboard at the same time, using either their fingers or a stylus to create or annotate content. Designed for use in meeting rooms, the 55-in. 4K display can switch from portrait to landscape orientation depending on company needs. It includes USB ports to enable connection to PCs and mobile devices, as well as wireless connectivity.

An integrated screen-sharing capability allows Flip content to be viewed directly from PCs and mobile devices, which would be useful for remote workers, in particular. Flip runs the Tizen operating system used in a variety of Samsung products, including its smart TVs, and contains 8GB of internal storage.

Samsung set the retail price for the Flip at $2,699; rival digital whiteboards are more expensive. Google’s Jamboard for G Suite, released last year, retailed for $4,999 at launch, while Microsoft’s SurfaceHub costs $8,999 for the 55-in. version.

However, those devices offer integration with each company’s respective business software suite, providing them with an advantage over Samsung’s Flip. Meanwhile, Cisco’s Spark Board integrates with its Spark collaboration software and supports video conferencing.

“The meeting room has become the new battleground for business communications and collaboration,” said 451 Research senior analyst Raul Castañon-Martinez. “Samsung Flip will face tough competition from Google and Microsoft. These players have an advantage with their business and productivity suites, which they integrate into their respective whiteboard products.”

He noted that Google and Microsoft are strong contenders as software providers while Samsung is already present in meeting spaces, thanks to its PBX phone systems and smartphones.

Competing with other feature-rich products is just one hurdle for those offering digital whiteboards, said Larry Cannell, research director at Gartner. Digital whiteboards have been around in some form for years and vendors have yet to convince substantial numbers of users to swap tried-and-trusted tools for digital alternatives.

“The challenge with these products isn’t necessarily integration with back-end software,” said Cannell. “Rather, they are still competing with in-room physical whiteboards and large sticky flipcharts.

“From my experience, most digital whiteboards have ended up being most used as fancy digital projectors,” he said.

Despite the launch of new hardware by some major vendors in the past year, customer demand is “still building momentum,” Castañon-Martinez said. That is likely to change over the next year or two as hardware becomes increasingly integrated with collaboration and productivity software.

Intel’s Mobileye Software Going In Millions Of Vehicles

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Intel Corp Chief Executive Brian Krzanich announced 2 million vehicles from BMW, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Volkswagen AG would use its unit Mobileye’s autonomous vehicle technology to crowdsource data for building maps that enable autonomous driving.

The world’s largest chipmaker bought Israeli firm Mobileye last year to compete with peers such as Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp and tap the fast-growing market of driverless cars.

Intel will also tie up with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, which will use Mobileye technology to develop cars in China, the chipmaker said.

Krzanich also said Intel had not received any information of customer data being compromised so far after the company confirmed last week that the security issues reported by researchers in its widely used microprocessors could allow hackers to steal sensitive information from computers, phones and other devices.

Security researchers had disclosed two security flaws exposing vulnerability of nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices Inc  and ARM Holdings.

NVidia Intends To Stop Data Centers From Using Consumer-Grade Graphics Cards

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

nVidia Has said “NO” to businesses wanting to uses its consumer-grade GeForce graphics cards in their data centers.

By changing its licensing agreements on its software packages and drivers, Nvidia has moved to push companies away from GeForce cards to its Tesla graphics accelerators.

The increase in performance of consumer GPUs, alongside their relatively wallet-friendly prices, have made GeForce cards more appealing to businesses running data centres.

Previously, the artificial imitation of double-precision floating point capabilities of GeForce GPUs made Nvidia’s enterprise-grade Quadro workstations and Tesla products more appealing to companies looking for good performance with data centre workloads reliant on common general-purpose GPU acceleration.

But the shifts in the workloads have meant half precision not double precision is more appealing, which bypasses the issue of limited performance and has seen companies turn towards cheaper consumer GPUs.

Naturally, Nvidia doesn’t want big businesses buying its cheaper cards when it has enterprise-grade tech to shift.

So a change in licensing terms looks to shift businesses back to Tesla GPUs.

“No Datacenter Deployment. The software is not licensed for data centre deployment,” Nvidia’s updated driver licence agreement notes, laying down the law.

However, it adds: “Except that blockchain processing in a data centre is permitted”, which suggests Nvidia still wants people to use its cards for mining cryptocurrency

How Nvidia will enforce this new licensing agreement will have to be seen, but we expect that it will be a major pain in the posterior for companies making use of GeForce cards in their data centres, potentially resulting in them pulling a load of graphics cards from their server arrays when Nvidia’s legal eagles come swooping in.

For people making use of Nvidia GPUs in their personal computing, this move will mean very little but should help prevent companies from snapping up GeForce cards and potentially driving prices up. And it will prevent Nvidia from throttling performance of GeForce GPUs to limit their data centre appeal.

That being said the strength of the parallel processing found in GPUs for crunching machine and deep learning algorithms means Nvidia GPUs have a strong appeal for developers working on artificial intelligence and smart systems.

As such, this could be the reason why the previously enthusiast-level GeForce Titan GPUs have dropped the GeForce branding, seen pricing hit a hefty $3500, and get marketed for AI-powering use.

While Nvidia’s graphics tech all share a common architecture, it would appear that the previously blurred lines between enterprise and consumer-grade cards are becoming more tightly defined for better or worse.

Courtesy-TheInq

Microsoft Accelerates Latest Windows 10 Upgrade

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft has rolled out 2017’s final Windows 10 feature upgrade to customers faster than it did the year’s first revision, according to data from a Windows app ad network.

Data from AdDuplex, a Lithuanian company whose technology is embedded in thousands of Windows apps, showed that October’s Fall Creators Update (FCU) had been installed on about 54% of all measured Windows 10 personal computers by Dec. 20.

Windows 10’s FCU, also known as version 1709 in Microsoft’s yymmnumeric format, launched Oct. 17. In the nine weeks from then until Dec. 20, AdDuplex reported, more than half – 53.6% to be exact – had upgraded to FCU from an earlier version.

Other editions still proliferated on customers’ PCs. The April feature upgrade, dubbed Creators Update and labeled 1703, powered 34%. Even older versions, including 2016’s only feature upgrade, the Anniversary Update (1607) and the soon-to-be-retired-from-support 1511, accounted for 11% and 1%, respectively.

The quick shift to FCU stood in contrast to the lethargic transition to Creators Update earlier in 2017. Eleven weeks after Creators Update’s April 5 debut, AdDuplex measured its share of all Windows 10 PCs at just 36%, barely more than a third. Its predecessor, the Anniversary Update, or 1607, continued to power the majority of Windows 10 PCs (59%) at the time.

Microsoft controls the pace of Windows 10 feature upgrades adoption, at least in the opening months after each release. While some users do actively seek out the upgrade to download and install, most wait for Microsoft to offer it to their PC, at which point the rest is usually automatic.

The Redmond, Wash. developer has been clear that it does not open the upgrade spigot all the way at the start. Instead, it provides each feature upgrade to an increasing number of PCs as time ticks by, beginning with the subset of the newest systems that theoretically should have the fewest problems installing the code. The staged-release model – while not new, not even Microsoft’s invention – lets developers gauge installation success, correct any problems, and then continue the rolling release.

That the FCU was handed to customers faster than its predecessor could be explained several ways.

After five releases, Microsoft may have found its legs, able finally to get a majority of its Windows 10 users onto a feature upgrade in little more than two months, and thus prove that it can execute its rapid development and release strategy. Or the FCU was simply in better shape at launch than the spring’s Creators Update; the contrasting timelines reflected the better-quality FCU.

Do Retro Games Resonate With Gamers

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Gaming

Almost half of all gamers in Europe like to go back and play games from their youth.

The latest data comes from ISFE and Ipsos Connect’s GameTrack consumer survey, and is based on a question posed by GamesIndustry.biz.

The results also show that 41% of consumers are eager to go back and experience games that they missed first time around.

The figures confirm the motivation behind the success of retro gaming products such as the NES and SNES Mini consoles, plus the popularity of remakes such as last year’s Crash Bandicoot.

However, the majority of gamers disagree that classic games are better than modern titles (only 22% agreed with the statement), while 45% are of the belief that realistic graphics are an important part of a great game.

The survey also specifically spoke to users of recent retro products, including the NES and SNES Mini, Crash Bandicoot, the Sega Forever project and more. It’s unsurprising that these consumers are more enthusiastic about going back and experiencing classic games (66% like to revisit games from their youth, while 67% like to play older games that they missed). 49% of these consumers also admit that nostalgia is one of the key reasons behind why it buys the games and consoles that they do.

41% of retro gamers are also of the belief that older games are better than current ones, with just 23% disagreeing with that statement (the rest neither agree or disagree). However, a number do find themselves disappointed with their trips down memory lane, with 38% stating that classic games are never as good as they remember.

The question (which combines online sampling with over-the-phone and face-to-face surveys) was posed to gamers from the UK, Spain, France and Germany. In terms of individual territories, French gamers are narrowly the more nostalgic consumer, although the results are relatively consistent across each market.

You can find out more information about the GameTrack survey here.

Courtesy-GI.biz

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